The job of police officer has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Police today face the fallout from high rates of mental illness and increasing homelessness in their communities, and they’ve got to be on the lookout for human trafficking and domestic violence.
That’s in part why the Los Angeles Police Department partnered with the USC Price School of Public Policy and the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work to train officers to deal with some of the biggest problems facing 21st-century society.
USC now offers a new certificate program that trains officers in community policing and boosts officers’ understanding of vulnerable populations. Through the Law Enforcement Advanced Development program, or LEAD, officers gain human relations skills and learn evidence-based techniques that reduce the need for force.
The program combines online classroom sessions and daylong group meetings that tackle topics such as civil rights, extremism and human trafficking.
USC Price Professor Erroll Southers, who helped develop the community policing training program and directs the Safe Communities Institute, expects LEAD to expand to other agencies in Los Angeles and—through an online component—across the country.